For many teams, the chances of linking up with such a major automaker as Porsche would have been seen as a decisive step in future performance and economics. Therefore, missing that opportunity when the negotiations have gone so far would have caused a panic and a wave of different opinions to try to get the managers to return to the talks.
However, Red Bull is not nervous about how they have managed the issue, and they were very clear that all they wanted was a union where the German firm would support their own engine project.
As team principal Christian Horner put it, some would believe his team is “insane” for embarking on such a large investment alone to finance a competitive engine project.
But Red Bull is no ordinary outfit and, with the full backing of the energy drink company to help financially, there is no alarm about how things are developing.
“I think as soon as we made the decision there was full commitment, and it’s not a small company,” the Austrian boss said. “Some think we’re completely crazy to take on the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and even Honda, starting from scratch, but that’s exactly the Red Bull style, achieving the impossible, the same they’ve said about the design and construction of a chassis.
“I think it gives us the possibility to be the only ones, apart from Ferrari, to have everything under one roof,” Horner continued. “With the synergies that creates, it allows us to look at other projects, for example the RB17, and we produce our own power unit for that project, so strategically it’s a logical investment after Honda’s announcement to go out, take the future into our hands instead of relying on being a customer.
Red Bull’s decision to commit to creating its own engine by 2026 has been facilitated by the fact that there will be a budget cap on power unit development as part of the new regulations, so there is no risk that become embroiled in a spending war with rivals. And having such a long lead time before their powerplant gets going on track gives them some leeway to see if they can find a partner to use for support, but there are still some fundamental questions that Red Bull will have to answer. before 2026.
Having your own power unit may be good from a competitive point of view, but it’s also not something that’s going to help balance the books. As a company that does not sell road cars, it is unlikely that they will sell more cans of energy drinks just because they use a Red Bull engine instead of another manufacturer, and the way the Formula 1 prize system works, the income from commercial rights for winning the world championship with your own engine is identical to doing it with an external firm such as Honda or Tag-Heuer .
The truth is that there is nothing to be gained financially by going it alone, and they reject any possibility of investment outside of Milton Keynes: “Obviously we have the burden of the cost of existing power units, on top of development at the moment.”
“But by the time we get to 2026, the budget cap will have kicked in, and the costs will be much lighter than they were two or three years ago,” Horner said. “The cap was critical, and depending on how we’re structured, we have the ability to produce engines for up to four teams.”
“That will not be the initial objective, since the plan is to supply the two teams owned by Red Bull,” continued the Austrians’ chief executive, who admitted that the support of a manufacturer could bring technical knowledge when it comes to the hybrid system.
“What we were interested in is, when you’re building a power unit from scratch, with a budget cap, what can the rest of us bring to the party that we don’t have?” Horner wondered.
It’s clear from Red Bull’s perspective that they don’t look back on what has happened with Porsche. Instead, they focus on the future and doing what is logical and best for the team.
The clear favorite for a partnership is Honda , but the Japanese company is still unsure if they want to change their minds about returning to Formula 1 after leaving at the end of last season.
However, Red Bull can wait for that decision, and that is because time is on their side, and if there is a long-term formal reunion, there is no pressure: “Our engine has already been started, we have a propellant running and all the power banks working”.
“Honda, I repeat, is a great company that announced its withdrawal from Formula 1 to focus its attention on the electrification of its products, moving away from the combustion engine,” said Horner. “Therefore, it is to be assumed that if they consider going back, it will have to be taken into account.”
“But with the combustion and the mechanical part of the engine, we are in a project until 2026 with which we are very happy,” concluded the Red Bull director.
Do you want to read our news before anyone else and for free? Follow us here on our Telegram channel and you won’t miss a thing. All the information, at your fingertips!